Jul. 17—After years of working, waiting and preparing, Charlie Barnes' major league career started in an inauspicious way. In his words, it couldn't have started any worse.
But after watching leadoff hitter Robbie Grossman's 13th home run of the year clear the fence in left-center field, Barnes quickly settled in nicely for the Twins on Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park.
The Twins lost the first game of the doubleheader 1-0 to the Tigers, managing just two hits in seven innings, but there was plenty for the rookie to be happy with after his major league debut.
"I thought I threw the ball well," Barnes said. "I did what I'm going to do. I'm going to throw strikes, change speeds and try to keep hitters off balance. I felt like I did a good job of that, of executing the plan that me, (pitching coach) Wes (Johnson) and (catcher) Ben (Rortvedt) put together before the game. ... Got the first hitter out of the way, couldn't get much worse than that and we went from there."
Barnes got word on Tuesday from Triple-A manager Toby Gardenhire that he would be making his debut days later in Detroit, giving his friends and family plenty of time to mobilize and get to Detroit to watch him pitch in person.
Some nerves followed, especially after Friday's postponement, but he woke up on Saturday calm and ready to go, helped by the fact that it was a day game, which didn't allow him much time to sit around and think.
After serving up the home run to Grossman and allowing a single to the next batter, Jonathan Schoop, Barnes found a groove, throwing 4 2/3 innings and allowing just two more hits.
"Once I got the first out, that's when I kind of settled down," Barnes said. "We went homer and then the groundball got through for a single and I was like, 'All right, we've just got to get one.' And then after I got the first one, I was like, 'All right, I'm ready to go and let's get into it.' "
And he did, making the most of the rest of his outing.
"He got a lot of medium-type contact where they're putting the ball in play but maybe weren't having the swings that they would want, and you've got to give Charlie credit for that," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It was a very successful outing for him."
A successful outing for Barnes and former Tigers reliever Beau Burrows, who threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his Twins debut after being officially called up earlier in the day.
Successful but for the final result.
Barnes was tagged with a loss as the Twins' offense mustered a single in the second and one in the third before Tigers pitchers retired the final 13 batters of the game in order.
After five days off because of the all-star break and a rainout on Friday, Baldelli said he did see some "rusty-ish at-bats," from Twins hitters, who struck out seven times in the loss.
"It's not like we had a ton of opportunities; we had a ton of guys on base," Baldelli said. "We actually didn't really collectively put together the at-bats that we needed to to win this game or even push a run or two across."